Usher faces Super Bowl half-time show as Taylor Swift’s attendance remains unsure – The Guardian

R&B star promises ‘an event’ while fans speculate over whether Swift will be there to support Chiefs player boyfriend Travis Kelce
Usher will hit the most-watched music stage of the year this Sunday with his much-anticipated performance during the Super Bowl.
The 45-year-old is promising a career-spanning show that will be two minutes longer than the regular 13-minute performances from past years. “I can’t explain why, but it’s a funny thing that I was able to do and craft,” he said this week. “That was a huge strategic thing that happened between me and my agency.”
The singer has still called it “difficult” to find a way to squeeze his entire career into such a short amount of time. Usher released his first album in 1994 at the age of 16. He has since gone onto sell over 80m records worldwide with major hits including U Make Me Wanna, Good Kisser and Love in This Club.
Usher has confirmed that, as is tradition, there will be some surprise guests and told Entertainment Tonight that it would be “foolish” not to invite his Yeah collaborators Lil Jon and Ludacris up to the stage.
He also revealed that he has been getting advice from the previous half-time performer Katy Perry and called it “a moment I’ve prepared for during the last 30 years” which will “definitely be an event”.
Last year saw Rihanna take the stage with the star making it the most-watched half-time show ever with 121 million viewers.
His set will take place during the half-time section of this year’s big game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs, in Las Vegas. It will mark the first time the city has hosted the Super Bowl. Usher recently finished an 18-month Vegas residency.
The Chiefs player Travis Kelce has also been making headlines for his much-publicised relationship with Taylor Swift, who has been attending many of his games this past season.
The past week has seen speculation that Swift, who picked up the Grammy for album of the year last weekend, would also be at this Sunday’s game.
The singer is currently on the Japanese leg of her record-breaking Eras tour which wraps on Saturday. The Embassy of Japan in Washington DC issued a statement on 2 February reassuring fans that she would still have enough time to “comfortably” make it to the game.
Kelce’s mother, Donna, said earlier this week: “We don’t know until that day if she’ll be coming or not.” Travis has also said of Swift’s attendance: “She is absolutely the number one fan right now. I love having her at every single game that she can make and we’ll see.”
Usher said last November that he would try to involve Swift in his performance is she is there. “I mean, she could be one person that I serenade,” he said. “Or, she could be a special guest.”
A recent study showed that American interest in the Super Bowl climbed by 169% from last year.
“I think it’s great to have her a part of it,” said the NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, this week. “Obviously, it creates a buzz. It creates another group of young fans, particularly young women, that are interested in seeing why she is going to this game, why she is interested in this game. Besides [her relationship with] Travis, she is a football fan, and I think that’s great for us.”
This Sunday will also see the release of major new movie trailers including first looks at Deadpool 3 and Twisters. Celebrities also set to feature in this year’s big ads include Jennifer Aniston, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ben Affleck. Experts have claimed a 30-second commercial this year will cost around $7m.

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